Wroxham's day of destiny

Paddy Davitt Wroxham's long-serving defender Shaun Howes admits the Ridgeons Premier Division underdogs must play the game of their lives in tomorrow's FA Cup third qualifying round derby against King's Lynn.

Paddy Davitt

Wroxham's long-serving defender Shaun Howes admits the Ridgeons Premier Division underdogs must play the game of their lives in tomorrow's FA Cup third qualifying round derby against King's Lynn.

Howes is under no illusions the hosts face an uphill battle to cause a major upset in the biggest Norfolk non-league clash for more than a decade.

Wroxham edged out the Linnets in a five goal thriller when the sides last met in the world famous competition in 1996 - but Howes accepts the Blue Square North visitors start big favourites.

"We know it will take us playing at our absolute best and King's Lynn to have an off day to give us even half a chance," said Howes. "We are looking forward to it. It's going to be interesting that's for sure but this is the one we wanted.

"This was the biggest game we could get because we know at this stage realistically it will be difficult for us to progress further so we want to go out with a bang."

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Howes is relishing the big match build-up ahead of tomorrow's expected four-figure Trafford Park gate.

"It'll be nice to play in front of a big crowd," he said. "In my ten years at Wroxham the biggest here has been about 350. I don't think you can help but get caught up in the buzz and the occasion.

"We've only had one game since the draw was made and as much as you try to put it to the back of your mind it's difficult. This is a big deal - a massive chance for us to go out and play the best game we can on the day.

"Like the King's Lynn chairman has already said they are in a no win situation.

"Everyone expects them to go through but if they don't then it

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will be a huge surprise."

Wroxham player/boss Damian Hilton heads a trio of Lynn old boys expected to line up against their former employers.

"I'm sure that is an extra edge for those lads," said Howes. "Damo was obviously there and Alex Notman and Duncan (McAnally) more recently. Duncan is probably especially keen to prove that he is more than capable of playing at that level and I think he definitely is. He has been brilliant for us this season - even when he came back from injury last week he made some great saves.

"He's is still a young man but looks every inch a keeper - big and imposing. He's a key player for us. Our captain Graham Challen was a big miss through injury during the second half of last season and we've got three midfielders who at our level are great at controlling the game."

The 30-year-old expects no favours from Keith Webb's men.

"I don't think for one minute Keith will let any complacency set in," he said. "We know what he is like and he will be demanding that they are totally focussed and ready for whatever challenge they face. We only really know the lads who have been at out level - the likes of Joe Francis who has gone on and proved he can cut it higher. We know Greg Crane from his Norwich connections and Danny Bloomfield so we are well aware how tough it's going to be."